Wednesday, November 19, 2014

#ChooseJoy #JoyGivers365 Weeks I have no idea thru- Week 47

Sooo, yeah.. It's been awhile (understatement of the year) since I've posted a #ChooseJoy blog.

There has been a whole lot of sick going on around these parts. More so than the normal issues I have due to my chronic health condition.  For about two months I have been almost non stop sick. First with a month long sinus and ear infection, then a virus, then a kidney infection, and now I find myself still running fevers with no explanation. I've had some labs ran, and have a Dr apt this week to continue to try and find answers to what is going on in my body. Prayers would be appreciated! I know my body rather well, you have to when you deal with chronic health issues, But Fevers and fevers for months are not normal for me.

There has been a whole lot of laying on the couch under two blankets, slipper boots on, and fleece jacket zipped up to my neck. My fevers make me FREEZING. I only wish they had come on in the summer when I was mowing! 


 these booties have become my bff. I am rarely without them on.
And Water, water, water, more water. I got pretty sick at the end of last week and my Dr was concerned my Kidney infection had returned, so I had to go to the lab for a certain test. Apparently I was quite dehydrated as I drank a large cup of Cherry Coke on the way over thinking it would help, and then this entire almost 30 oz thing of ice water. Let's just say I was there for a while with not much success.

My Mom reminded me yesterday when I was getting discouraged that my fever was back once again, that even thought the dr's and I don't know what is wrong with me yet, God does, and he is in control. It can be hard not knowing what your body is doing or how to predict how i'll feel from one hour to the next (forget days) but I am thankful that God knows!

I am very grateful and Choosing Joy that he allowed my fever to go away for one full day! That just so happened to be this past Saturday!!

I celebrated by finally raking my leaves ( I have been so exhausted that by the time i'm done teaching each day, I lay down on the couch and don't move much)

I had to laugh at myself because I was so excited to be raking leaves and just be outside and DOING SOMETHING! It felt great! I said to myself, Cherrybear, you must have really been sick to be as excited as you are about manual labor :)

After I got done with the leaves I decided it was time to clean my poorly neglected house and arrange to set up my tree. I had to move some furniture and find temporary homes for it to make space in my living room. Well one thing led to another which led me to move every single piece of furniture in my living room! And drag in all of my 7907890 tubs of Christmas items. 

Needless to say I was pretty tired on Sunday and my fever had returned BUT I was Choosing Joy that the Lord had given me one really great day when I felt good, and had tons of energy and was able to live a little bit. That is all i can ask for! One day at a time.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Crafty Girls

October was my Mom's birthday and my Parent's 38th Wedding Anniversary. I knew I wanted to make them something special that held meaning. Over Labor day weekend I was helping go through my Grams cards and moment's and just happened to stumble upon my parents wedding invitation, wedding napkins!! a bridal shower invitation and a thank you note. I managed to sneak them into my suitcase and took them home with me. I enlisted my partner in crime, Audra, to help me figure out how to best display them. And, one of the most important things, she helped me out by taking them to work and using their paper cutter. I have the cutting skills of a 3 yr old, not even kidding, so I was terrified I would destroy it!

Here is what we started out with. I actually found this frame at Salvation Army and fell in love with the frame and the matting. The Gold in the double mat was perfect for the 1970's color of invitation my parents had. However, I wasn't entirely sure how I was going to cover it!
Or how I was going to take the back off!

 I actually asked the lady next to me at the store if she thought the back came off and told her my craft idea, I have no shame when I need help! She thought it was a great idea and totally do able. So last week I brought myself and my tool bag over to Auds to have dinner and craft! And when I say tool bag I mean a tool bag! I was prepared!
 I used a box cutter to cut the paper off of the back of the picture. I was rather shocked it was going so well and so easy ( so was Auds) so I made Auds take a picture to document my genius.

After that we had to pry the industrial strength staples back to slide the mat out. I think that was the hardest part. We both had to take turns doing it, as our fingers would get really sore!
 Finally it was open and we were able to craft! The Mat was rather stuck to the picture, so we decided to use some light yellow/off white paper that I had brought with me just in case. (See, PREPARED!) please notice all of my tools on the counter.
 As prepared as I was, I had forgotten that I kept the napkin for the frame at home, since Audra didn't need to cut it. So we did our best to guestimate the napkin's size and placement.
 The finished frame! It is really hard to get a good picture of a picture frame. I took over 20 and sadly these are the best that I got! I think it turned out really neat though!
 Last night I had to put on a new hanger for it to hang sideways, and as I was trying to deal with the staples on the back of the frame I managed to slice my thumb and my pinky open. Painful. Every single one of my students today asked me what I had done to my fingers, because of my bandages.
I'm so thankful that Grams kept these items! It was really cool to be able to see my parents wedding invitations and items from way back when!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Auntie & Snugglemuffin's Day of Fun!

Subtitle- "That happened 2 months ago"

Snugglemuffin Came to Indiana (back in Sept.. whoops) and I was lucky enough to have an entire afternoon to spend with him! It was WONDERFUL!! we started off with lunch at Auntie's new house, along with a tour, and lots of playing in Auntie's toy box.  He enjoyed my cooking and was very happy that I (unknowingly) made his favorites! Hamburgers, Baked Mac and Cheese, and Chips of course :)

 B is a BIG HELPER so after lunch I put him to work helping me wash my dishes.
 He needed a little stool to be the proper height, but it won't be long until he will be tall enough to stand there on his own! He is growing like a weed. A very TALL weed.

 After lunch and cleaning up, we played some more, and chatted with Nana who had stopped by.
 Then we headed out to his big surprise. Snugglmuffin loves, loves, LOVES trains. (He is still in awe that Auntie has train tracks behind her house) so we took him to a little train museum in a nearby town. They are putting together a big train track and decorating it, as you can see above. It's not finished but all the trains worked so we got to watch 3, i think, different trains and it was really cool!
 He was in awe. Until another guy that worked there came into the room and kept getting up in B's face to ask him questions. Then he was over it. So was Auntie. so we made our way to their second building that housed what was SUPPOSED to be a super cool ride and their train museum stuff.
 And then we found out that this was the "ride" The look on his poor little face says it all. bwhaahahah 
 We looked at some more trains and were followed everywhere by an overzealous employee who kept trying to sell us things, over and over. no sir, we do NOT want an annual pass. no sir we do not want a COMMEMORATIVE BRICK.
 And then we come to this. This was his favorite part of the museum building. I am not even kidding. It's a picture of a shark painted onto the snow plow of a train. Snugglemuffin was fascinated by it and kept asking me WHY they would paint that on there, and why a shark? I had no answers but i did my best to come up with some :)
 We came back to the area with the shark snow plow picture no less than 4 times. He. Loved.it.

I thought it was pretty hilarious.
 I would just like to say that I went ALMOST 4 years without buying my nephew a loud toy that makes obnoxious noise. (The same cannot be said for Nana and Grandpa) HOWEVER, the streak ended at the train place when I saw that they had wooden train whistles! I mean, how could I pass that up? So i bought it for him, and because my Mother raised no fools, I gave it to him once the car ride was over and we were in my driveway. #smartauntie  Bless his heart, he did not quite get the concept of blowing air into the whistle, so he would put it up to his mouth, and then make one of his shrieking noises. #thestruggleisreal
 And just in case you thought my SIL was invisible, here she is!! we forgot to get a picture until the very last moment, but we got one!


And for my very favorite pictures from the day. This just melts my heart. B is going to be a Big Brother and he was getting some practice in with a baby doll he found in my toy box. All on his own, he found her, and took care of her for the rest of the afternoon. He would wrap her in a blanket and sat her on the couch to "sleep". It was so precious seeing him go over to check on her, and then pick her up and rock her so gently! He is all boy, that is for sure, but he has such a tender, loving little heart! I love my Snugglemuffin!!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

How to Get Stuff for Free: Hulu Plus and Birchbox Edition

This is not an advertisement, and I am not cool enough for companies to contact me to write about their products. I just wanted to share my tips and tricks on how to make the most out of your hard earned money by saving where you can, but still getting cool stuff!



Anyone who knows me knows I love a good deal. And that I'm kind of cheap. But I also like nice things, I just hate paying a lot for stuff. I believe my Mom refers to it as "Champagne taste on a Beer budget" (Not that I drink, just a saying)

My Mom has always clipped coupons and shopped for sales, and because of that, even though we didn't grow up with much money, we still had plenty of stuff and never went without. My Mom knows how to make a penny scream and beg for mercy. I am no where near her level of awesome thriftyness, but I am trying!

So I thought I would share some of my $$ saving tips and tricks.

First Off- Hulu Plus


For several years I had cable, and it pained me everytime I had to pay my cable bill. One year my Parents gave me a Roku for Christmas and it changed my life! As well as my bank account. With my Roku I can watch Netflix and Hulu PLus for 7.99 a month for each. Can't beat that. Well, actually, you can!!

Earlier this year I joined Bing Rewards. You've probably heard of Bing and maybe used them for a search instead of google. Basically you get points for 2 searches you do up to 15 points a day. With random 30 point days thrown in here and there, and bonus points daily.

I search alot so this was a no brainer for me. I joined without really knowing anything about it or what the rewards were.  Imagine my glee when I found out that I could use my points to redeem for one month of hulu plus! 

I have not paid for Hulu Plus since January of 2014. I have credits on my account until January of 2015.

11 months x 7.99 a month=87.89 SAVED!

BAM!

They do have other rewards, but pretty much all of them are 5.00 giftcards. To me, redeeming mine for hulu plus made more sense, considering it was worth 2.99 more than the standard 5.00 gift card.

Takes me maybe 2-3 mins a day to do my searches. I do all of them at once, usually while watching tv.


Second- BIRCHBOX


A few years ago I heard about a cool new company that for 10.00 a month would send you a box of personalized makeup samples to you door. The fact that in came in a pink box, and was like opening a  wrapped present inside was merely a bonus.

Many try, but no one compares to BIRCHBOX. That's right people, I am a Birchbox devotee! I get crazy excited near the first of the month to see the sneak peaks and stalk my account page so that I can find out what i'm getting in my box by the 10'th of the month. We won't even discuss how much i stalk the mail man when I know my box has been shipped. It's slightly obsessive.

There are many great things about Birchbox and I could go on and on and on but I'll try to keep it short.

I found that I was spending A LOT of money trying out different makeup at the drugstore. I would buy things and not like them, or the color ect was wrong. then i was stuck with makeup i didn't like, or that didn't work for me, and I was out alot of money. I thought Birchbox would be a great way to try stuff and get things tailored for my skin and face. I was right. 

The best thing about Birchbox is by far their points system. let me break it down for you.

Each month you get your BB filled with at least 5 makeup samples. (it is very common to receive at least one full sized makeup product in your box) you try them out and then go onto birchbox.com and leave a product review for the items you received. takes maybe a minute a piece, super fast, super easy, just giving your opinion on what you liked or didn't like.

 Each review gives you 10 Birchbox Points, (which is basically 1.00.)

100 Birchbox points it is good for 10.00 off anything you want to buy in their online store.

They have many of the brands and products you find at Sephora. Benefit, Laura Mercier, The Balm, and the list goes on. 

I usually save my points up until I have 30-40 dollars, and combine that with one of their 20 or 30 % off promos.


To give you an idea of some things I have gotten for next to nothing:

I have bought my favorite BVLGARI Omnia Crystalline Perfume for 20 bucks (retails for 64) thanks to my points and promo codes. 

I love Benefit's They're Real Eye Brow stuff, retails for 24.00, I've gotten it for free.

Stila had a 3 pack lip glaze set, I purchased it earlier this summer and paid 1.15.

To me Birchbox is a no brainer. If you like makeup, and prefer or would like to have the more expensive brands but can't really afford it, birchbox is a great way to try before you buy with the monthly samples, and then save your points up to get the fancy stuff you love but can't afford!

I really don't buy makeup anymore, not unless I can get it for free or very close to it from Birchbox.

And of course they have referrals as well. For each person you refer you can get 5.00 to use in the Birchbox shop. So if you have many friends it could add up quickly!


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween 2014

How's that for an original title??!

Halloween this year was so much fun! It was the first year that i've lived in a house in a neighborhood and have been able to pass out candy! Actually it was my first year EVER passing out candy! Growing up in the boondocks no one comes trick or treating to your house. I wasn't quite sure what to expect but I did enjoy it! And next year, I will buy more candy :)

 For my outfit this year I dressed up as Penelope Garcia from Criminal Minds! It should be noted that I didn't have to buy a single part of my outfit, which is either embarrassing or a good thing. I am still finding sequins and sparkles throughout my house.
 I found these spider web tights that I had never opened or worn and thought they were perfect!
 Oh Derek Morgan, you are so so dreamy!!!
 Making the world a safer place, one bad guy at a time.

I dressed up on Weds this year and not the actual day of Halloween, because one of my students was dressing up as Dr Spencer Reid, also from Criminal Minds. Alas, she got stuck at school with a spelling competition (how fitting is that??!!) and wasn't able to get her costume at home before coming to her lesson. #sadness
 On Halloween Day these two cuties changed in their vehicle before coming to their after school lesson! I LOVED IT!!! they were SO cute!! And I'm dying, DYING, over the cowgirl's pose.
That evening as I was passing out candy I was SO excited to have another one of my students who lives nearby come to my house to trick or treat! Isn't she adorable?! I mean that cheese face, I love it!! It should be noted that it was beyond cold and SNOWED on Halloween, yes, snow, so pretty much everyone's costumes were paired with coats and cold weather attire. this little cutie was a pink skeleton.

All in all I had a fun Halloween and enjoyed passing out candy! My neighborhood has a large amount of 8-12 year old boys and every single one of them was dressed in a scary outfit, 90% with a freaky mask. I may or may not have yelped a little bit each time I opened the door to one of their freaky mask faces.

Shockingly, I only saw 3 Elsa's.

I blame it on the cold weather and less than large trick or treating crowds.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A whole lot of random... You're Welcome.

 Earlier this (last) week I actually had contacts in, which is rare these days, So I snapped a few pics of my festive non four eyed look.
 And posed with my door sign. Which is super cute.
 I'm trying to find a way to make this not sound odd, but I'm not having any luck! For the past year or so, I've been using Opinion Outpost, which i highly recommend, to earn "fun money" basically. (Cough, Sephora Favorites Gift Sets, Cough)

 Once in awhile after doing a survey I will get asked if I want to do further questioning or try out a product. Of course I always say yes! I have made several hundred dollars (outside of what I earn on OO!) saying yes, and who am I to turn down free items? So after doing a survey that asked me if I'd like to try out some Pillsbury biscuits, I said yes, and a week later the UPS man showed up at my door with a cold box holding a can of biscuits. I was excited to say the least.

Referral Link if you to want to earn money while watching tv. ;) 


 Anywho, The sad thing is I was almost more excited about the cold packs. I ice my back ALOT, #oldladyproblems and these ice packs stay frozen forever. yes, I really just typed a whole sentence about my love for the ice packs in my biscuit package. This might be why I am single.
 And the biscuits? they were REALLY good!!
 I've had a sinus and ear infection for over a month, Coke Floats have become a staple in my house.
 Wear. All. The. Leopard.
 I'm pretty sure this is what Heaven will be like. Laying on the couch under a cozy blankie, with my red lamp and halloween lights on. And Criminal minds on Netflix.
 While I was in Michaels last week I saw these ADORABLE little shoes and boots! I about died of the cuteness!! Can't wait for Baby B to get here! He or She is getting a pair!! #wishtheyhadthepinkinmysize
 One of my students had a birthday and I knew she was getting a Piano so I wanted to make some art work she could hang above it. I came up with this treble clef, and while it was not my best work thanks to some glue issues, she thought it was really cute and that's all that matters!
 1. yes I wrapped her present in valentines day wrapping paper, it was the only one i could find! 2. i am the worst wrapper on the history of the planet. my presents frequently do not have enough paper. bless my heart.
 When going through my Grams cards I found this card that my Mom had filled out for my then 3 yr old brother to give to my Grandparents for Valentines day. notice it says "Sister or ? " They didn't know what gender I was and actually thought I was a boy! The other interesting thing is that my due date was actually Valentines day! but I didn't make my grand appearance until almost 2 weeks later. #imsorrymom
 Once I was on the outside my spelling skills lacked. A lot.
 I would like to think I made up for my weirdness with my good heart?
At least I was cute.!

 I mean stop. Look at those blonde curls!!!!

 Still curls, not so much blonde.
This is what happens when I am early on Tuesday afternoons. I stop at the Igloo to burn some time and treat myself to a vanilla marshmallow coke. Sounds disgusting but is oh, SO yummy!!